This is a short cartoon from 1938 by George Pal advertising Philips radios. Special effects pioneer George Pal was the king of what is known as “replacement animation” in the world of stop motion animation.
Replacement animation is an extremely labor intensive process (in the already inherently labor intensive process of animation) where different elements of an animation puppet are removed and replaced with another similar item in a slightly different pose. A single character can potentially have hundreds of replaceable elements in different poses.
It is very common for this technique to be used with character’s heads… Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas is a good example of a very-well done puppet with replaceable facial poses.
The Phillips Broadcast animation is remarkable in how much of it is done with replacement animation… the heads are replaceable on all the characters… but so are entire bodies. The shapes distort and transform wonderfully with the kind of physical exaggeration generally only seen in hand-drawn animation.
It boggles the mind how much labor must have gone into this short film. It has to be seen to be believed. It is truly a masterpiece of stop-motion animation.
Note that it is REALLY, REALLY worth your time to go and view this cartoon at a higher resolution with much more brilliant color here on the Europa Film Treasures site (unfortunately that version is not embeddable on this website).
WARNING: This cartoon contains racial depictions that many will find offensive. If this sort of thing bothers you, you may not want to view it.
Go here to check out the George Pal DVD set George Pal – Flights of Fantasy
on Amazon, which contains this and many other cartoons.